DYNAMICAL FORMATION of the GW150914 BINARY BLACK HOLE

Carl L. Rodriguez, Carl Johan Haster, Sourav Chatterjee, Vicky Kalogera, Frederic A. Rasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

115 Scopus citations

Abstract

We explore the possibility that GW150914, the binary black hole (BBH) merger recently detected by Advanced LIGO, was formed by gravitational interactions in the core of a dense star cluster. Using models of globular clusters (GCs) with detailed N-body dynamics and stellar evolution, we show that a typical cluster with a mass of to is optimal for forming GW150914-like BBHs that will merge in the local universe. We identify the most likely dynamical processes for forming GW150914 in such a cluster, and we show that the detection of GW150914 is consistent with the masses and merger rates expected for BBHs from GCs. Our results show that dynamical processes provide a significant and well-understood pathway for forming BBH mergers in the local universe. Understanding the contribution of dynamics to the BBH merger problem is a critical step in unlocking the full potential of gravitational-wave astronomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL8
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume824
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 10 2016

Keywords

  • globular clusters: general
  • gravitational waves
  • stars: black holes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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